The First Time a Priest Ever Made Me Cry

For the first time in my entire life, I cried in confession. Why? Because the priest with whom I sat called me out big time. It was a truth that I couldn’t deny, so I received it with tears.

This was my third SEEK experience, and as I continue to process those five days, I frequently find myself speechless. Every time, I can see that the Lord is so pleased to show how He is transforming His macro church—and yet the real work is what He is doing in our hearts.

Underneath the noise of our modern culture, God continues to woo each of us individually. SEEK is not just another conference; it is a shock to eternity. Lives were changed there in San Antonio, as God reclaimed us for Himself. He intimately introduced 13,000 of us to His unique, nuanced love for us. To see it in the lives of so many is incredible, but to open myself up to what He wants to do in me…well, that’s a different story.

I digress.

During the third day of the conference, I was burning with anger. I could see the glory before me; I knew I was supposed to be joyful, but I just couldn’t get over myself. I told myself story after story, lie after lie, about how others perceive me and why I am not worthy of acceptance.  My mental calculus looked something like this: me = victim, everyone else = oppressor. I sat in prayer and passed out blame as I physically felt my heart harden.

In a moment of grace, the Lord said clearly to me, “When you are done worrying about yourself, can you just marvel at what I am doing here?”

Ok, that’s fair!

I did just that. I decided to forget myself and my vendettas for a moment and just sat in awe of the beauty occurring in the lives of so many.

That night, I was tenth in line for confession. I got to the priest and word-vomited to him everything I had been thinking and feeling that day. I took responsibility. I spoke of the anger, the blame, the shame, the self-doubt—and then I shut up, desperate for advice.

“You seem so busy. Why have you given away your freedom? Jesus has gifted it to you, and you have given it away. This is why you are so angry.”

The tears started rolling.

This man does not know me from Eve, and he just pierced my heart with the Truth.

I have given away my freedom. The Lord has given me full confidence as His daughter. He has given me complete mercy and unending grace, and I have given it away like a pair of old shoes. I have stopped receiving my true identity and given that power to another; another who can never bestow truth.

With my newfound revelation, I ran to prayer. I had given my freedom to all these other people in my life, and I was ready to take it back.

“For Freedom You Have Been Set Free”

It wasn’t until the next day that I had another revelation.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

I hadn’t given my freedom to a person; I had given my freedom to a liar, constantly whispering falsehoods meant to keep me from my God-given purpose.

“You’ll never be good enough.”

“You’ll never accomplish that.”

“Why would you even try?”

“You’re damaged.”

“You’re not like them.”

“You are alone.

Over and over again, in the subtlest ways, I had walked away from the truth that set me free and given the power that belongs to my creator to these whispered lies. I have nurtured them; I have acted out on them; I have set my life’s boundaries according to them.

This, my friends, is how a Christian becomes angry, bitter, and ineffective.

Praise God for the priest who made me cry.

This year, I am taking my freedom back from the father of lies. I am returning it to the one who created me. It is His purpose and the identity He has given me that I want to believe. My goal is to make my life an expression of the healing power of God in the freedom He desires for us all.

Are you living your life according to the lies you have accepted? Make this the year you strip them of their power. You are unique and unrepeatable; you are an expression of beauty itself, made to live in communion with your creator as well as your peers. God has a plan for your life, a plan that is full; it will not tear you apart but lift you and those around you toward His glory. Don’t let that be stolen away!

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